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Disease & Conditions >>> Cholesterol Articles & News
Fish Oil And Bad CholesterolBy: DAVE WOYNAROWSKI, M.D.
The World's Top Anti-Aging Specialist
Doc, I've heard you say that fish oil can raise the bad cholesterol. If its BAD cholesterol, how can fish oil do so many good things for your heart, and why does the FDA say that it's a heart healthy food. Myron Williams. Brooklyn NY
This is a good question and one that bears repeating the answer to even though I've discussed this before (vol 1-3 of the newsletter).
First let's talk about BAD cholesterol, also known as LDL cholesterol.
Bad cholesterol actually comes in different "flavors" some bad and some not bad at all. The light fluffy version is generally considered not bad, and not contributory to increasing your risk of heart disease.
The heavy dense is considered deadly and very much increases your risk of heart disease.
When Fish Oil is given in high enough doses (In this case the study was using 4 grams a day) it tended to shift the type of bad cholesterol from really bad heavy dense to not bad light fluffy. Please note this in direct opposition to the people who say you should NEVER take more than 1 gram of Fish Oil a day!! All the studies I've seen show more benefit at higher doses.
The light fluffy stuff is thought to being on its way to being disposed of, and not able to participate in the inflammatory reaction that is at the core of plugging the arteries of the heart and other vitals areas such as brain, kidney, and of course the muscles usually of the legs.
Be aware that a regular cholesterol test does not tell you any of this. If you want to find out you have to get your doctor to order and "NMR" of the lipids or similar test. Also be aware that this test runs about $500.00 and is often not covered by insurance.
If I had to choose between this test and the homocysteine level or the Quantitative CRP that so many gurus are telling their readers to get, I would want this one, HANDS DOWN.
Now what about the actual rise in the "Bad Cholesterol" that is sometimes seen with high doses of Fish Oil. First the average increase is about 7%. This translates into going from say a total cholesterol of 200 to 214.
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